by Amelia Wedemeyer
At the School Board meeting on Thursday, Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) Superintendent Scott Hannon officially announced his intent to retire at the end of the current school year. While Hannon has yet to decide what he will do after he retires on June 30, 2014, he did mention that he is looking forward to "sleeping in.”
Hannon, who has been with WAPS for 41 years, started as a teacher before moving into administrative positions. Named interim superintendent in July 2010, he became permanent superintendent in 2012.
As a veteran of the district, Hannon has seen many changes during his career, including the 1975 teachers' strike in his first years at WAPS, when district relationships were strained. Hannon said during an interview that relationships among district staff members, board members, and administrators have greatly improved, especially in recent years. "For me, being here so long, you learn from those things," he said.
"While the time has gone fast, each of those years has been rewarding and fulfilling. I hope that I have made a positive difference in the lives of students, parents, staff members, school boards, and the administrative colleagues I have come in contact with," he noted.
Teaching has always been a part of Hannon’s life and he doesn’t want to rule it out completely, even after he retires. “I might want to do a little teaching,” he explained. “I do like working with other administrators who are younger, and I’ve always enjoyed the school law aspect.” Having taught in the past at Winona State University (WSU) and Saint Mary's University, Hannon said he may find time during retirement to work at a university; however, any future employment will "be on my terms."
A major part of the legacy Hannon will leave is the recent development of programs for younger students within the district. He spearheaded the upcoming Spanish language immersion program at Madison Elementary School, as well as the preschool collaboration between WAPS and WSU currently planned for Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School in the fall. Hannon has also overseen the development of the STEM program at Jefferson Elementary School.
“I am more excited about the things we are doing right now than ever before,” Hannon said. “It’s going to be hard to walk away next June.”
District leaders are currently conducting a search for a new superintendent, with finalists expected to be selected in February.